Consumer demand and food safety regulations are requiring food safety strategies that are increasingly proactive. For food manufacturers and retailers to meet the demand, they will need to address three critical areas: effective training, technology utilization and water management. As we kick off 2016, here is a look at how these three factors can be leveraged to impact and improve food safety.

TRAINING: Effectively impacting human behavior

While food safety challenges are varied, problems in processes and practices are the cause for much of the food contamination that occurs around the world and across the supply chain. Often, a lack of education and training is at the core of the problem. With a food chain that is so large and so fragmented, it can be hard to make progress in these areas – and even harder to achieve consistency in the implementation of safe food practices.

Training and information can increase understanding of the nature and the extent of food safety problems, and improve awareness of the impact each function, role and employee can have on food safety. As we look to the future, we need to ensure that organizations across the supply chain are able to effectively build food safety cultures to consistently maintain food safety across their operations.

Effective training can take many forms, including on‐the‐job, instructor‐led and self‐paced options. Browse our library of educational food safety webinars addressing a variety of topics of interest to food service stakeholders. 

TECHNOLOGY: Reducing risk through visibility and control

Validation and verification of sanitization are expected practices in the food industry and are ultimately the responsibility of each site. Automated data capture, easy access to information and enterprise visibility are essential – and to protect companies and consumers, manufacturers and retailers need to invest in technology and resources before incidents occur.

Integrated systems create a holistic view of operations to effectively identify and prevent food safety issues by providing reliable, comprehensive data and an efficient means of communicating with all necessary stakeholders. The benefits are significant. Real‐time data provide visibility to leading indicators, reliable measurement and reduced process variability. They can help enterprises benchmark high and low performing facilities, identify best practices to leverage, and prioritize opportunities for investment.

See this kind of technology in action.

WATER: Managing supply and quality in food environments

Water is an integral part of almost all food processing operations, yet it is something that many operators take for granted. It can affect food safety, quality and sanitation. Businesses along the food supply chain need to understand how water is delivered to their facility, how it is removed, and the status of its quality. Understanding water quality and how it moves through an operation is one part of the equation needed to ensure safe, high‐quality foods.

Water is also increasingly scarce, with demand expected to exceed supply by 40 percent within two decades. Many operations are under pressure to reduce their water usage. But reducing water usage can adversely affect food safety within an operation. When water is reduced, many processes within the operation need to be adjusted to maintain the correct balance.

To ensure food safety in today’s challenging environment, operators need to take action to achieve water reduction and sustainability goals without compromising food safety, which is made possible by understanding which food safety activities are impacted by changes in water quantity or quality – and what adjustments need to be made in the event of such changes.

See how a food retailer implemented food safety solutions that simplified cleaning for their staff and reduced their water usage.

With the right combination of training, technology and water management strategies, food manufacturers and retailers can ensure product quality, protect their brands and control costs. And together, we can achieve the global food vision.

As a global leader in food safety, Ecolab is committed to partnering with customers to help them create a culture of food safety, leverage innovation, and turn data and information into action. Visit our booth the Global Food Safety Conference in Berlin and www.ecolab.com to learn more about our cuttingedge innovation and food safety expertise.

And don’t miss our Special Session at 8 a.m. on 2 March – “Maintaining Consistent Food Safety Standards Globally – Manufacturing and Retail Strategies for Success,” facilitated by Ecolab and featuring food safety experts Craig Wilson of Costco and Elena V. Garcia of Mondelēz.

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